Tuesday, 31 May 2016

(LATE) STAGE SUNDAY: EarthBound - Moonside

MINOR SPOILERS - Enter with caution, if you're looking to avoid EarthBound spoilers. Also, there is a PRETTY BIG SPOILER for Link's Awakening lurking around in this post.

Greetings!

First off, allow me to apologise for missing Stage Sunday. I was kind of busy, and I missed it. But here I am again, with that Stage Sunday, although very late.

EarthBound is a game about a kid named Ness going on a quest to gather two other kids and a prince who unite to stop an alien force. One of the game's locations is Moonside, which is sort of like a darker version of the town of Fourside, accessed by checking one corner of the cafe in Fourside. You might notice that this town is where the last part of my name came from.
The Moonside version of the cafe.
Moonside is filled with all sorts of weird-looking enemies, including abstract artworks, "Dali's Clocks", which resemble the melting clocks from some of Salvador Dali's artworks, gas pumps and rampant fire hydrants. The people here aren't any better, as they flip around the meanings of "Yes" and "No" for the entire area, meaning that one always means the opposite of the other.
An example of the oddities that occur in Moonside.
Located around the town are people that look a lot like Lt. Surge from the Pokemon series that teleport you around the area. This is the only way to access certain points in the town, including the Monotoli Building, where the Evil Mani Mani Statue resides, waiting to be defeated. Defeating the Mani Mani Statue is the only way to escape Moonside, which is similar to how Link escapes from Koholint Island in Link's Awakening.
Because there's a "good" Mani Mani waiting to be found somewhere?
There is this invisible border located around the Monotoli Building of Moonside that you're unable to really pass until you find an "invisible" man (who's said to have a gold tooth) and take him to his friend next to the right-hand side of the Monotoli Building (in the Japanese version, they leave to have alcohol).
STAHP RIGHT THERE
The music for Moonside seems to have been sampled from "Keep on Laughing" by Ric Ocasek. This isn't the only case of sampled music being in EarthBound, as there are many other instances of this, and other general musical similarities, such as Onett's Arcade having some of its background music from the arcade game Xevious.
XeviantArt?
I don't have too many strange experiences with this stage, but I thought I'd cover it for Stage Sunday because I just find it really interesting. So that's about it, but keep checking back for more posts and hopefully, Stage Sunday will come on Sunday. For now, though, bye!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

My Top 5 Least Favourite Stars in Super Mario 64

Hello, all! I apologise for my lack of posts lately, so here's a slightly lengthy one to make up for it.

Ahh, Super Mario 64. One of my all-time favourite video games. But there's some stars that aren't what you'd exactly call "fun". So here, I'll be listing 5 of my least favourite stars to get in Super Mario 64, in no particular order. I'm not including any 100-coin stars, because it's pretty obvious that people don't like the 100-coin stars, and I'm also not including any extra stars that were added in Super Mario 64 DS. Also, keep in mind that this is my opinion.

5)
Name: Chests in the Current
Stage: Dire, Dire Docks
Reason for Dislike: The underwater controls in Super Mario 64 aren't really the best, especially when you need to make sharp turns to get to the front of the chests when you accidentally approach them from the back. This is one of the main reasons I really don't like Chests in the Current. I know the simplest solution is to make a large U-turn to reach the front of the chest, but that's not exactly the easiest thing to do when there's a huge whirlpool smack in the middle of the area, with one of the chests being right next to the thing. Also, the chests must be opened in a specific order, which I can understand being easy for people who've played the game twenty times over, but I'm not one of those people.
Approaching the chest from behind? Bad luck...
4)
Name: Tower of the Wing Cap
Stage: Castle Secret Star
Reason for Dislike: When you enter the stage, make sure you follow the spiral of coins that leads you to each pair of Red Coins. If you miss even one of the first six Red Coins, you might as well just ground-pound to your death, since once you lower, it's extremely difficult to regain altitude, especially in the time limit of the Wing Cap.
Nice job with the altitude there.
3)
Name: Elevate for 8 Red Coins
Stage: Hazy Maze Cave
Reason for Dislike: The Red Coins in Hazy Maze Cave are all in one room. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Unless you're a super expert at this game, moving the platform to get the first four Red Coins is a nightmare. Falling off the platform is a guaranteed thing, as you accidentally run too far off of the platform, or slide off of it when it crashes, or any of those things. When you're attempting to grab the Red Coins in the higher portion of the room, it's pretty bad, too. The platforms are really narrow, leading to you falling off of the platform a lot. In short, getting the coins in this room means a lot of falling.
See that Mr. I over there? Enough said.
2)
Name: Mystery of the Monkey Cage
Stage: Tall, Tall Mountain
Reason for Dislike: Imagine the secret stars obtained by catching MIPS the Rabbit in the basement. Now imagine having to catch something more obnoxious, and having to do it with death lurking all around you. That's how it feels to have to catch the monkey on top of the mountain in this star. It jumps over you, it runs around, and you can't really dive, since there's a likely chance of accidentally flinging yourself all the way down the mountain. In fact, I only ended up catching it when it got itself stuck in a wall and stopped running around.
All I can say is, at least it doesn't steal your hat when you pick it up.
1)
Name: Snowman's Lost his Head
Stage: Cool, Cool Mountain
Reason for Dislike: When you initiate the conversation with the Snowman's body, it immediately sets off, leaving you to trail behind it, in an attempt to overtake it. The problem is, you HAVE to be in front of it, so you can guide it to the Snowman, because if you're not, it rolls straight past the Snowman and plummets off the stage. It's not exactly made any easier with the fact that you can't take any shortcuts when guiding the snowball down the mountainside.
It begins.
That's about it for now, but before I go, allow me to make a few honourable mentions.

Honourable Mentions: In the Talons of the Big Bird, Bully the Bullies, Coins Amassed in a Maze.

Remember, this list wasn't in any particular order.


See you all later, and check back here for today's Stage Sunday!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

STAGE SUNDAY: Sonic 3 & Knuckles - Ice Cap Zone, Act 1

Hello!

Yes, I'm not dead, I was just away for a while, doing assignments and homework. And playing Rollercoaster Tycoon 2.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Last Stage Sunday, we took a short look at a dark, spooky place from Ocarina of Time, and at the end, I mentioned that the next one will be a snowy level from a game split into two. And here it is!
All the cool kids are snowboarding down hills.
This level is fast-paced, like a Sonic level should be, although there are one or two bits where you have to wait around, but then again, a lot of classic Sonic stages do that. The stage begins with Sonic snowboarding down a large hill before colliding with a wall at the end of the slope and falling into a cave (or, in the Knuckles route, you simply enter the main cave from a tunnel). From there, it's pretty standard Sonic stuff, until about halfway through, where there's a large chunk of ice that slides infinitely downwards until you jump off at the right spot. Then, it's more standard platforming, until you reach the boss, which is Big Icedus, a spherical contraption with ice chunks orbiting it.
The three dots near the top of Big Icedus make it look like a fat, robot Shy Guy.
Then, the stage ends. Something interesting to note is that if you touch the checkpoint before Big Icedus, die, and continue the level, the game starts playing Act 2's music instead of Act 1. This is due to the game loading all the necessary assets for the exterior section of Ice Cap, and Act 2 mostly takes place on the exterior.

Ice Cap also made an appearance as a Sonic Drift 2 stage and more notably in Sonic Adventure, where snowboarding was also involved.

I don't have many noteworthy experiences with this zone in particular, but I will mention that the PC version (yes, there was a PC version of S3&K) changed the music for a few zones in the game, including this one, due to some controversy surrounding the music and Michael Jackson.

That's about it from me about this level, but don't forget to check back for more Stage Sundays, and more posts in general. The next Stage Sunday will be a trippy, confusing place from an SNES RPG.

Goodbye, and stay tuned for more!

Monday, 16 May 2016

SNES Virtual Console Games being New 3DS Exclusive: My Thoughts

Hello, once again!

For a while now, the 3DS e-Shop has gained SNES titles! When I'd first heard this, I was absolutely ecstatic. However, disaster struck. I continued reading the email I had received and when it said it was New 3DS exclusive, I was kind of crushed, more so when I found out that EarthBound, one of my favourite SNES titles, was a "launch title" of sorts for the SNES Virtual Console releases. I only have an original blue 3DS, which means I have to stick with NES and Game Boy/Game Boy Colour games for some retro gaming action. At least Nintendo released the three classic Pokemon games, which means I'm not completely sapped of a new retro game to play. I know I can still emulate SNES games, which I occasionally do, but it's always nice to have a semi-legitimate copy, especially a portable one.

Now, the main issue here is that Nintendo has said that they only made SNES titles exclusive to the New 3DS Virtual Console due to the fact that the older 3DS's hardware wasn't up to their standard for running the SNES games. What confuses me here is that Nintendo has still released Hyrule Warriors Legends as a game that can be played on the normal 3DS, even though the framerate gets cut down greatly when it's played on the original model. You'd think that Nintendo has guidelines for that, but apparently not.

This was an interesting experience. I haven't tried making a (semi) rant before. Well, that's about all I want to say, so stay tuned for more posts of mine. Hopefully, the next post will be a bit more light-hearted. For now, goodbye!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

STAGE SUNDAYS: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Bottom of the Well

MINOR SPOILERS

Ah, Ocarina of Time. I've only completed the game once, a few years ago, on the 3DS version. There was one area, specifically, that I tried my best to rush through as quickly as I could, and not for speedrunning purposes. That area was the Bottom of the Well. See, back then, I found this dungeon and the Shadow Temple quite scary, and the music, torture devices, bloody walls and enemies did not help at all. I feel like the scariness factor was toned down but raised at the same time in the 3DS version, because the wall blood is way lighter, but the updated graphics just improve upon the overall creepiness.
I mean, just look at this place. It's creepy.
Now, let's talk about the dungeon itself. It's normally accessed when the player plays the Song of Storms for Guru-Guru in the Kakariko Windmill as Child Link, emptying out the Well and enabling access to its depths. And what lies there... is pure nightmare fuel. All over the place, there's blood and bones, and the whole place looks like some underground torture chamber (don't forget that huge X-shaped device in the middle of one of the rooms), and it probably is, considering that the Shadow Temple is, too. The music doesn't lighten the mood one bit, but it definitely isn't the scariest part of the whole experience. The key item for this dungeon is the Lens of Truth, which means it's probably not necessary to enter this area at all, if you've memorised the entire Shadow Temple, where it's mainly used.

I remember my first time in here. I'd actually watched the Sheikah Stone vision multiple times to make sure there weren't any ReDeads or Gibdos on the way to the Dead Hand fight, and luckily, there weren't, which meant I was able to run straight to Dead Hand, kill it, pick up the Lens of Truth and get the heck out of there. But that was before I saw the Master Quest version. The original location of the Lens of Truth was moved to the very last floor, which is arguably one of the creepiest features of this dungeon. It's home to a huge pit of acid, many ReDeads and multiple pairs of hands extending from the acid pit.
Rated E for Everyone...
You bet, Nintendo.
And the worst part? In the Master Quest, the Lens of Truth was moved to the very back of a large group of ReDeads. Hope you picked up the Sun's Song!

These days, I'm able to run down to the Bottom of the Well and have a jolly old time, mostly because Majora's Mask (the 3DS version, again, is the only version I finished) completely vanquished my fears of ReDeads and Gibdos. I mean, just look at them dance!
How can anyone be afraid of this?
That about wraps up today's Stage Sunday, but stay tuned for next week, where I'll be taking a look at a more light-hearted stage! HINT: It's snowy, and it's from a game that's split in two.
And don't forget to check back for more posts in general, where I ramble about other stuff!

Well, looks like I'll be seeing you all next time. Bye!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT: Stage Sundays!

Good evening, or whatever time of day you're in!

I was thinking of fun things to do with my blog, and I had an idea- Stage Sundays!

Basically, on Sundays, I'll find any stage (including racetracks from race games, levels from platform games, areas from RPGs, etc.) and give some insight about my experiences with the stage, as well as why I like or dislike it. Be warned, however, as some, if not all, of these stages contain spoilers for their respective games! If that's the case, I'll add a big spoiler warning over it.

The first one will be coming tomorrow. Stay tuned!

My Thoughts on the Pokémon Sun/Moon Starters

Recently, Nintendo revealed the first evolutions for the starters of Pokémon Sun and Moon. I will be quickly looking over them and giving my thoughts on them.


Here they are- from left to right, there's Rowlet, Litten and Popplio.
Now, let's take a look at them each individually, shall we?
First up, we have Rowlet.
The Grass-type starter, Rowlet, seems to be based off of an owl baby, or owlet. The "row" could be interpreted as "roll", considering that Rowlet is circular and ball-like. Rowlet may also part Flying-type, which makes sense, since it's based off a bird. The pair of leaves on its chest and its leaf tail seem to be the only indication of its Grass-type side, with it being more Flying-type oriented. Personally, I like its design, although it could stand to look more like a Grass type. Maybe its future evolutions will.
Next, we have Litten.
The Fire-type starter, Litten, is obviously based off a kitten. The "lit" part comes from the past tense of "light", in verb form. It is covered with red stripes, making it look more like a Fire-type. It's speculated by many that Litten may also be part Dark or Poison-type. I can definitely see it being part Dark, but I'm not so sure about the Poison-type speculation. Litten's mostly-black colour scheme could be based off of smoke or coal, which are both associated with fire. That colour scheme is most likely what leads people to believe that Litten could be part Dark-type. It's another good design, and I don't really have many complaints about its design. Now, here's hoping that its evolutions AREN'T Fire/Fighting-type.
Lastly, here's Popplio.
Popplio seems to be the least popular Gen 7 starter, and I don't really see why. It's a design that's NOT based on keys or something, and it's cute, like the first stage of a starter should be. It looks a bit like a mixup of Oshawott, Drilbur and a generic seal. Its colour scheme is mostly different shades of blue, which most Water-type starters have (save for Squirtle, which is only partly blue, with its other colours being brown and grey). People have speculated Popplio being part Ice-type, which could work, considering that most seal Pokémon are Water and Ice-types (look at Walrein, for instance). Its red nose looks perfect for ball-balancing, which could be Nintendo/Game Freak's intention behind it. Popplio doesn't appear to have feet (either that or they're rounded), which makes that part look more like a tail, which, again, is probably the intention behind that bit.

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To end off, the Pokémon Sun and Moon starters all have pretty good designs, even though some newer Pokémon look a little... uninspired. That was my overview of the starters for the new Gen 7 game, so I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Introducing ShyGuyOfMoonside's Gaming Blog!

DISCLAIMER: Aside from my own artworks, any images that may be used are all courtesy of their respective copyright holders. I take no credit for any characters or media (except my drawings, but even they use copyrighted characters and areas, so I take no credit for those, either).

Hello, all!

Welcome to ShyGuyOfMoonside's Gaming Blog!
Here I will give my opinions on things like video games and share my thoughts on bits of gaming news.

I might even show you guys my (terrible) artworks!

That's about it for now, but stick around, there'll be posts soon!